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Electronic Communications Service Provider Committee

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Overview Edit

In March 1993, the Electronic Communications Service Provider (ECSP) Committee was formed under the aegis of the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), an industry group aimed at resolving issues involving telecommunications standards and the development of operational guidelines. The ECSP committee is co-chaired by an industry official and a representative of the Attorney General who represents the collective views of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

ECSP is an open forum with over 200 individual participants (however, only 40 to 60 persons have consistently participated in the action teams), consisting of representatives of local exchange carriers, interexchange carriers, trade associations, industry consultants, equipment manufacturers, and law enforcement officials, among others. Each participant must sign a non-disclosure agreement that is intended to both guard information that might be useful to the criminal element and to reduce the risk of divulging proprietary information, while ensuring a free and open forum for discussing mutual problems. ECSP has created six action teams, each co-chaired by a representative of the industry and a representative of the law enforcement agencies:

  • Advanced Intelligent Networks (AIN): Addresses solutions to problems related to the next-generation telephone network. AIN involves the deployment of software-controlled devices, including signaling systems, switches, computer processors, and databases. These functional units enable subscribers to independently configure services to meet their needs, and in doing so, create another layer of complexity for wiretapping.
  • Personal Communication Services (PCS): Considers solutions to problems arising from development of the next generation of wireless communication with the possible future capability of spanning the world.
  • Prioritization and Technology Review: Responsible for establishing the priorities in attacking the problems associated with the various communication technologies. The action team is also charged with identifying future emerging communication technologies and features that must be dealt with in the future.
  • Switch-Based Solutions: Develops recommendations to meet the functional requirements for the central switch office-based solutions to meet law enforcement’s requirements, including operational security.
  • Interfaces: Assesses the requirements for physical, messaging, operational, and procedural interfaces to meet the needs of the law enforcement agencies.
  • Cellular: Considers cellular technologies in the context of law enforcement’s intercept requirements.

The objective of the action teams is to explore the implications of meeting law enforcement’s electronic surveillance requirements on the telecommunications networks. To assist them in their objectives, they are preparing a series of consensus documents to serve as references for industry standards-setting bodies, service providers, equipment manufacturers, and law enforcement agencies. These documents, which are to be produced by each action team, will generally include:

  • Requirements and Capabilities Document,
  • Interpretation of Requirements Document,
  • Features and Description Document, and
  • User Performance Document.

Industry standards groups will use these documents to develop standards specifications that will guide manufacturers in the development and production of switches and other devices needed to meet the requirements of the law enforcement agencies.

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